Read the full article by Sharon Udasin (The Hill)

“The governors of two New England states have approved key pieces of legislation that transform their relationships with cancer-linked ‘forever chemicals’ — by restricting their use on Maine farmland and facilitating treatment avenues for toxic exposure in Vermont.  

In Maine, Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed into law on Wednesday a bill that will ban the application of biosolids — also known as ‘sludge’ — that contain so-called forever chemicals on farmland.  

In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott (R) approved a bill the next day enabling plaintiffs to sue for medical monitoring following exposure to toxins, including these compounds. 

Forever chemicals — or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — are an umbrella group for thousands of compounds known for their ability to linger in the human body and the environment. PFAS are linked to kidney cancer, thyroid disease, testicular cancer and other illnesses.  

Most notorious for their presence in jet-fuel firefighting foam and industrial discharge, PFAS are also key ingredients in a variety of common products like biosolids used on farms, nonstick pans and cosmetics.  

PFAS-laden biosolids have been a widespread source of contamination on agricultural land across Maine, leading several farmers to close shop after finding that their milk was tainted by the compounds, as The Hill reported. Such sludge is usually a product of paper mills.  

‘What we’re seeing is our farmers are going out of business,’ Assemblyman Bill Pluecker (I), the bill’s co-sponsor and an organic farmer by trade, told The Hill. 

…Wednesday’s new law will prevent residents from spreading sludge to farmlands unless they receive ‘written determination’ from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection that the sludge is PFAS-free, according to the bill.  

The prohibitions will also apply to fertilizers, soil or topsoil replacements used for similar agricultural purposes that are derived from or contain sludge.”…